Results 1-2of 2 Reviews
April 5, 2002
The 36 Pho Puong (36 streets) were each home to one of the guilds and they bore the name of their craft, Hang Bac ("Silver Street") was home to the silversmiths, Hang Ca ("Fish Street") home to the fishmongers and Hang Ruoi ("Clam Worm Street") home to... errm... well actually I've no idea. Although these names no longer necessarily represent what is sold there it is still the best place in Hanoi to buy anything from souvenirs and fake designer label goods to traditional medicines and Buddhist artifacts. Even if you’re not shopping it is superb place to discover daily Vietnamese life.
For the shoppers Hang Bac is a great place to look for jewelry, Hang Ngang ("Transversal Street") is the place to go if you want a suit run up for you, while Hang Gai ("Hemp Street") caters for the tourists with a wide range of souvenirs including those replica water puppets and of course Hang Ruoi is the best place to go if you want to know what a Clam Worm is anyway. To the north of the Old Quarter stands the 1885 facade of the Dong Xuan market behind which lies a massive collection of stalls, completely rebuilt after destroyed by a fire in 1984, where you'll find whatever you want
For the site-seer, the architecture is fantastic, ranging from 15th century merchant houses to Hanoi's unique "tube houses" built long and thin to avoid a tax based on the size of the frontage, but actual sites are few and far between. There is the Cua O Quan Chong ("Old East Gate"), the last remnants of the city walls. The Museum Of Independence (48 Pho Hang Ngang) the house where Ho Chi Minh drafted Vietnam's Declaration of Independence, downstairs a dull selection of photos and artifacts upstairs Ho's preserved study and bedroom. And on the edge the dull neo-gothic St Joseph's Cathedral, entrance at side.
The true highlight however is the back streets where traditional craftsmen still hammer away, don't miss the Buddhist artifacts on Hang Quat ("Fan Street") the fabulous carved gravestones on Hang Bac and the ghost money on Hang Ma ("Counterfeit Street"), to sum up I strongly advice you to get lost.
From journal City in the River Bend
by Heather F
Heywood, Victoria, Australia
October 7, 2001
In addition to the wide cross-section of everyday life viewed, the Old French Quarter is a shoppers delight. Bargain for a traditional, hand-painted bamboo masks, paintings of Vietnamese everyday life on silk, hand embroidered tablecloths or clothes made of Vietnamese silk. For those who like war memorabilia, try a traditional Viet Cong helmet or an old Russian watch. Even for those who aren't stamp collectors, the large, colourful stamps of Vietnam provide a spectacle all their own.
The footpath is the centre of family life. A charcoal stove cooks the meal from the recently purchased fresh ingredients; small stools block the footpath as the residents sit to eat their evening meal; and the local baby bath is a small, plastic bowl on the footpath with a myriad of bathtime spectators!
From journal Hanoi Highlights